Memorial Day

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We here at Abnormal Use and Gallivan, White, & Boyd, P.A. hope you had a safe and fine Memorial Day weekend. Our offices are closed today. As we do each year, today, we pause to reflect upon all of the sacrifices made by American servicemen and women and all they have done for the country, both in present times and years past.

Above, you’ll find the cover of Fightin’ Army #139, published not so long ago in 1979.

Friday Links

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Well, it’s Memorial Day weekend, and we once again express our great appreciation for those who lost their lives serving our nation. Above, we feature the cover of Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles #1, published back in 1976. We hope everyone has a safe and eventful holiday weekend.

Okay, so who else is saddened that “Mad Men” has ended its run? We here at Abnormal Use remain crestfallen.

At long last, Overlawyered has cited Stereogum. Of course, it’s on the recent “Netflix for Vinyl” model and the legal barriers for same. See here for me.

Get this: The popular website Mental Floss ran a piece entitled “29 Fun Facts about ‘My Cousin Vinny.’” In that post, the author quotes a number of our interviews with the writer, director, and cast members. How about that? Click here to read it (and pay particular attention to numbers 7,11,12,13, and 19).

Our favorite tweet of late:

Can Defense Lawyers Co-Opt the Reptile Strategy?

As you know, we here at Abnormal Use sometimes contribute content to other publications, and this week is no exception. Our own Kyle White saw the publication of his “Can Defense Lawyers Co-Opt the Reptile Strategy?” piece in the most recent issue of DRI’s Strictly Speaking. Here’s the first two paragraphs:

In 2009, David Ball and Don Keenan published a book called REPTILE: The 2009 Manual of the Plaintiff’s Revolution (“REPTILE”).  The $95 book is billed as a manual that teaches Plaintiff’s attorneys how to reduce tort reform’s impact on juries by using the jurors’ primitive safety and self-preservation instincts. For those who have not read the book, it begins with the premise that insurance companies, big business, et cetera, have convinced prospective jurors via tort reform propaganda campaigns that jury verdicts impact the economy in their community – that jurors walk into the courtroom with the understanding that jury verdicts threaten their basic survival.  Keenan and Ball explain that jurors will disregard the facts and law to do whatever it takes to survive, and that tort reform has taken control of those survival-oriented decision making parts of the brain.

At first glance, it seems that the reptile strategy is a gimmick designed to bilk plaintiff’s attorneys out of $95; however, those who have faced the reptile strategy know that it can be dangerous.  In fact, Keenan and Ball’s website boasts that the reptile strategy has been responsible for over $6 billion in verdicts and settlements.  This article examines pertinent aspects of the reptile strategy and suggests two potential ways that civil defense lawyers can use reptile tactics to their advantage.

Strictly Speaking is the official newsletter of DRI’s Product Liability Committee. You can read the full article here. This longer work is a revisiting of Kyle’s earlier blog post on the topic, which you can find here.

Friday Links

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Our favorite thing about the cover of Mr. District Attorney #62 – published more than five decades ago – is not the magical villain our hero appears to be pursuing. It’s not the fact that the district attorney seems to be attempting to apprehend a criminal in the act rather than prosecuting him in court at some later date. Rather, it’s the fact that the police officer – who is a few steps behind the prosecutor – refers to him not by name but as “D.A.” There’s not even a definite or indefinite article preceding the term – just “D.A.,” as if that were his name. What gives?

Did you see our own Kyle White’s article on the reptile theory in this week’s edition of DRI’s Strictly Speaking? If not, check it out. Oh, and don’t forget, you can follow Kyle on Twitter here.

You like the ease and convenience of Netflix? You like vinyl? Well, of course you do. Who doesn’t? Well, you’ve got to read the recent piece by Michael Nelso at Stereogum on the perils of the “Netflix for vinyl” model which, apparently, violates the Record Rental Amendment of 1984.

Our favorite tweet of late comes from Lawyer Cat:

North Carolina Court Of Appeals Matter-Of-Factly Cites Litigant’s Facebook Profile In Factual Background Section Of Opinion

Here’s something interesting.

In the factual and procedural background section of a recent opinoin, the North Carolina Court of Appeals cites to a litigant’s Facebook profile to introduce him in that section. See Staton v. Josey Lumber Co., Inc., No. COA14–1001 (N.C. Ct. App. May 5, 2015).

It’s a workers compensation case, and the claimant “injured his left leg and foot when he fell off scaffolding while welding.” The North Carolina Industial Commission found that it had no jurisdiction to hear his claim because it determined he was an independent contractor and not an employee. The claimant appealed this finding, although the court of appeals affirmed.

In the second paragraph of the factual background section (and the fifth paragraph of the opinon), the court of appeals noted:

Staton called himself a contractor on his Facebook page. He stated that “[m]ost everyone knows I’m a welder. I travel alot chasing jobs. I do shutdown work. That is when a company takes off a week or so and contractors go in and fix whatever is broke.”

The court of appeals quoted this language again in the analysis section of the opinion.

So, here, we’re not dealing with spoliation or impeachment or any of the usual issues when social media is involved in litigation. It offers no citations or footnotes to justify some type of novel citation to new social media technology.

Rather, the Court of Appeals matter-of -factly quotes the litigant’s Facebook profile (just like it would any other statement or document).

How about that?

Abnormal Use And Net Neutrality? A Debate In Charlotte Tonight.

If you’re in Charlotte, North Carolina tonight, you might be interested to know that our editor, Jim Dedman, is moderating a debate on net neutrality. Net neutrality is a complicated topic, but the debate tonight is designed to educate attendees about its origins and the potential effects of the new Federal Communications Commission regulations. If you’re interested, you can join The Bastiat Society and Johnson And Wales University for a debate on net neutrality featuring scholar Brent Skorup of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and Charlotte attorney Brian Focht, author of the popular The Cyber Advocate law blog.

The event begins tonight at Hance Auditorium at Johnson and Wales University, which is located at 801 West Trade Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202

Friday Links

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Our editor, Jim Dedman, is in Chicago today for the DRI Product Liability Committee Fly-In. You may remember that he is chair of that committee’s newsletter section. If you’re there, too, say hello! Because this is Friday Links, we tried to find an appropriate comic book cover depicting Chicago. However, we were unsuccessful. So instead, we bring you the cover of Kicking Television: Live in Chicago, Wilco’s 2005 live album recorded in the Windy City. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the album was recorded May 4 through 7, 2005, ten years ago this week. How about that?

Okay, if you’ve not seen the news story about the police officer suing Starbucks for spilling his free cup of coffee on himself, please see here. Apparently, he testified for eight hours on the stand at trial this week.

Are you following Abnormal Use on Facebook? If not, please join the discussion over there, as we’d love to have you! See here.

Our favorite tweet of late comes from our own Stuart Mauney:

South Carolina Changes Witness Fee Subpoena Rules

Heads up, South Carolina lawyers! In case you haven’t heard, the South Carolina Supreme Court recently revised its rule on the issuance of subpoenas to provide that the required witness fee and mileage reimbursement need not be tendered until the witness actually appears for the deposition or trial.  The court has also approved revised subpoena forms which are listed on its website.

Here is a link to the Supreme Court’s May 1, 2015 order on this issue, while here is a link to the revised subpoena forms at issue.

Friday Links

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This does not look like a good jurisdiction for Batman. See here for a bit more on this issue of Batman, which we first mentioned way, way back in 2010.

Our editor, Jim Dedman, will be speaking on social media research to the South Carolina Association of Legal Investigators annual conference in Charleston on Monday. Spoiler alert: He may be using the image above of the Joker judge and jury in his PowerPoint presentation.

By the way, we here at Abnormal Use and Gallivan, White, & Boyd, P.A. are pleased to announce that shareholder John T. Lay, Jr. has begun his term as president of the South Carolina Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). How about that?

Our favorite tweet of the week:

Friday Links

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Above, you’ll find the cover of  Rock N’ Roll Comics #7, published way, way back in the halcyon days of 1990. We post this cover this week because we here at Abnormal Use saw The Who live in concerts this past Tuesday night in Raleigh. What a show! We have now seen “Baba O’Riley” live! Good times.

Our own Stuart Mauney’s blog post on the lack of outrage over binge drinking was recently featured on the CoLAP Cafe  blog, the online newsletter from the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. Click here to read further.

We’re sticklers for certain rules in legal writing. Thus, our favorite tweet of late comes from Judge Dillard: